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Leavy and Marmion put themselves in frame


STEPPING UP: Dan Leavy. Pic: Sportsfile

STEPPING UP: Dan Leavy. Pic: Sportsfile

STEPPING UP: Dan Leavy. Pic: Sportsfile

They all have it coming.

No one gets away 'scot-free' in this game. The pall of injury will descend on everyone, sooner or later.

Heck, even Jamie Heaslip had his bulletproof reputation and career removed in one moment.

For Sean O'Brien, it has been a case of a thousand bumps, bangs, tears and bad breaks, none worse, psychologically, than the arm that cracked against Tomas Lavanini's head.

It is often the way that the most committed, body-brave men are the ones that pay the heaviest price, in terms of time taken away from them.

The Tullow Tank fits into that category. The only break he can catch is the worst kind.

When one man goes down, another must stand in his place.

In this regard, Dan Leavy showed his form from last season when introduced in the 39th minute for O'Brien, by fitting in straight away.

"Fitting in, I mean getting into the system," he said.

"You don't need to go chase anything or do anything crazy, just get your tackles right, get your rucking right, carry strong.

"The basics are what you really need to do at the start."

There was a great deal more than the basics provided as two crucial turnovers allied to hard running and tackling made for an impressive impact.

The dress-rehearsal for the All Blacks couldn't have gone any better for Leavy, considering he was toiling away at Southern Kings the previous week.

"It's the top ranked team versus the second ranked team so I'd love to play," he said.

"There's so many lads, so many variations that could come up.

"Josh (van der Flier) has been playing really well, all the boys in Chicago had serious games as well, so there's a lot of names in the hat.

"Hopefully, I get to play, but we'll wait and see."

Leavy wasn't the only one to stick up his hand as Kieran Marmion made a fine fist of his basic duties at scrum-half.

Coach Joe Schmidt rated Conor Murray as "highly unlikely" to make his comeback against New Zealand.

By the time Marmion left the field with a turned ankle, the scrum-half had made a favourable impression.

"Hopefully, I've put my hand up. That's for Joe and the coaches to decide," said Marmion.

The quick assimilation of Luke McGrath in the final quarter, which included a sharply taken try, and Murray's outside shot does not make this a foregone conclusion.